In honor of the International Day against Islamofobia and other Forms of Religious Intolerance, I chose to share one of my experiences in working with gender issues in Kosovo.
During the work as a researcher, I had the chance to interview a woman wearing a scarf in a position of leader of a business. It was impressive to me to see a covered woman in a position of the leader, but she is having her own business, so “this was definitely not something to be applauded”. And I will come back later to this sentence.
While I was representing my organization, where I am a Co-Founder and its mission, she asked me if Together in Progress target group also includes covered women in working with marginalized groups of Kosovo. She addressed a problem that most of the covered women in Kosovo are having when they are applying for a job. According to her, all the covered women she knows, aren’t invited after the interview, even if they have the required qualifications and this is happening just because they are covered.
Since then, I am thinking to find a way to express solidarity with covered women in Kosovo and I chose to start with writing an article on September 21 – the International Day Against Islamophopia and other Forms of Religious Intolerance. I have promised her that Together in Progress will contribute in proportion to the needs of covered women by projects, which will be based on such claims and on existent research in this field. So after this big personal step by writing for the blog of No Hate Speech Movement, I will continue to contribute through my organization by supporting covered women.
As I mentioned above, I will return to the position of this Madam. Being a female leader in your own business, might be women’s challenge which starts the change and it fully depends on your ambition and your family beliefs in gender roles. But to be a female leader in public institutions or in any company in which you don’t know anyone, is something that is taking time effort and persistance to achieve, especially when you are a covered woman.
And can you imagine? I was talking about leader position!
Covered women in Kosovo can not even start their career in lower positions. They are stigmatized because people are afraid that they are serving a religious role to society, especially if they work with children and youth.
In many countries, we are facing the fact that work positions and professions are defined by gender. So women can be rejected when they apply for a job, even if they are high-level educated, just because “they might chose the wrong profession according to their attributes”. Besides the issue of being women, covered women are predisposed to face with double discrimination just because of their religious affiliation.
And I’m just wondering! How about a woman applying for a job, who is covered and pregnant as well. What may be the consequences of this triple discrimination?!
I would not like to be excessive and continue adding other examples of multiple discrimination. I would like to finish my article with a return to my experience with a covered woman. After the interview (which was not related to this topic), she asked me: have you expected to see a female director which is covered? What did you think about the role that I am serving to children? And a couple of other questions, that were speaking more than being just questions.
So, you great woman, well educated and with a position to be congratulated, here is your raised voice, even you just have shared some minutes talking another woman.